Exploring Bellingham Mountain Biking: A Mountain Biker’s Paradise
In Conversation with Ike Bancroft of Dig Deep Mountain Biking Tours
Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Bellingham, Washington, is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream come true. With its lush forests, stunning bay, and rugged mountains, it’s no wonder that Ike Bancroft, owner of Dig Deep Mountain Biking Tours, chose this picturesque town as the backdrop for his mountain biking adventures.
From Boston to Bellingham: Ike’s Journey
Ike Bancroft, originally from Boston, Massachusetts, found his love for mountain biking in the hills of Vermont. However, it was a brief stint in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, at the age of 18, that fueled his passion. Ike’s days were spent shuttling up and down the pass trails, hitchhiking with his downhill bike in tow.
At 21, he moved to Bellingham to attend Western Washington University. The allure of outdoor pursuits drew him to this vibrant town. But it wasn’t until later, in 2019, that he decided to establish Dig Deep Mountain Biking Tours in Bellingham. COVID-19 momentarily halted his plans, but in 2021, the venture finally took off to an enthusiastic reception.
Bellingham’s Mountain Biking Paradise
Bellingham offers an array of mountain biking experiences, and Ike is the perfect guide to navigate this mountain biking paradise.
- Galbraith Mountain: Boasting over 70 trails suitable for all skill levels, Galbraith Mountain is a local favorite. It’s conveniently located near the town, making it easily accessible.
- The Chuckanuts: Also known as Larrabee State Park, this area, particularly in the southern section, offers shuttle-accessible advanced-level trails. The Chuckanuts provide breathtaking views.
- Lookout Mountain Preserve: For those seeking a more backcountry experience, Lookout Mountain Preserve offers a serene escape. The Cougar Ridge trail is a highlight, surrounded by Lake Whatcom’s beauty.
- East Side of Lake Whatcom: On the east side of the lake, you’ll find the Brown Pow trail, another gem for mountain biking enthusiasts.
- Greenway Trails: If you prefer a more relaxed ride or even a leisurely stroll, Bellingham has an extensive network of greenway trails, including routes along the base of the Chuckanuts.
Beyond Mountain Biking: Exploring Bellingham
While mountain biking is a central activity, Bellingham has much more to offer. Ike recommends exploring the stunning bay, which sets Bellingham apart from many outdoor towns. Rocky sandstone beaches, sandstone cliffs, and ocean views are perfect for unwinding after a ride.
Water activities abound, from kayaking to stand-up paddleboarding and even sailing. Don’t miss the chance to embark on a whale-watching trip; the local orca pods make it a memorable experience.
For a complete Bellingham adventure, consider hiking in the craggy mountains, especially during the summer months. Ptarmigan Ridge, starting at Artist Point, is a popular choice.
And of course, make time for the local breweries and entertainment options, which add a delightful dimension to your visit.
Responsible Outdoor Recreation in Bellingham
Visiting Bellingham comes with a responsibility to preserve its natural beauty. Ike emphasizes that it’s essential to be mindful of the impact visitors can have on this pristine environment.
- Show curiosity and respect for the area, recognizing that you are a guest.
- Educate yourself about the region’s history, native populations, industry, and environmental context.
- Be aware of your actions, respect the environment, and stay on designated trails.
- Support local trail-building organizations to contribute to the sustainability of these outdoor locations.
The Philosophy of Dig Deep Tours
The name “Dig Deep Tours” has a dual meaning. It represents pushing one’s limits in challenging mountain biking scenarios, but it also encourages a deeper exploration of the places visited.
Ike aims to promote a profound understanding of the areas they explore. Supporting local trail-building organizations is a part of this philosophy, akin to a “carbon offset” for your outdoor adventures.
Bellingham Washington Trail Organizations
WMBC’s mission is to preserve and enhance non-motorized trail access in Whatcom County through stewardship, education, and advocacy. Donate to them here https://www.wmbcmtb.org/
In summary, Bellingham, Washington, offers an abundance of outdoor adventures, from mountain biking on diverse trails to exploring the bay, hiking the craggy mountains, and indulging in local culture. Responsible outdoor recreation is key to preserving this natural paradise, and Dig Deep Mountain Biking Tours, under Ike Bancroft’s guidance, provides an ideal way to experience it all while giving back to the community.